Follow the route of some of the first Churches & Cathedrals in Armenia, learning about how Christianity first started becoming the dominant religion in the country.
Start the journey by visiting the Khop Virap Monastery, the place of imprisonment of Gregory the Illuminator the father of the Christian conversion of Armenia along with the King Tiridates III of Armenia. Over the centuries the church has been rebuilt several times and in 1662 the current chapel was built around the old ruins. The church holds regular sermons till today and is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the country.
The next church you visit is Etchmiadzin Mother Cathedral, among the first few cathedrals in the world(built in 303-306), near the village of Vagharshapat. It was built on the site of an older pagan temple. The Cathedral has been through a tumultuous 1700 years seeing everything from the occupation of Armenia by the Romans & the Sasanians to the Soviet Union’s takeover in 1920.
End your day at a UNESCO world heritage monument at the edge of the town Vagharshapat, there is our third and final stop, the Zvartnots Cathedral. The ruins are in the area where Saint Gregory and the King had a meeting it is said. The church collapsed in the 10th Century, no one knows why exactly that happened, but while it stood it was considered an architectural marvel to rival none other. The ruins have been buried for hundreds of years until the 1900s when excavations uncovered the monument.
- We will first visit Khor Virap which is a monastery and pilgrimage site. It is situated in the Ararat plain from where you can admire the amazing view of biblical mountain Ararat.
- Then we will continue our way to Etchmiadzin town and visit Etchmiadzin Mother Cathedral which according to scholars it was the first cathedral (but not the first church) built in ancient Armenia (301-303 AD), and is considered the oldest cathedral in the world. It is the spiritual center of Armenia and the residence of Catholicos – the head of the Armenian Apostolic church.
- On the way back to Yerevan we will visit Zvartnots cathedral (7th century) which together with Etchmiadzin and nearby churches is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Your hotel in Yerevan
Tour and transfers in a private car
English speaking guide
Map of Armenia
All entrance fees
Guide and driver gratuity
Meals and drinks
- Duration is 6 hours – 8 hours
- Please wear comfortable walking shoes
- Please carry sunscreen, sunglasses if you take this tour in summer
- Please wear warm clothes if you take this tour in spring or autumn
- Don’t forget to carry a camera
- Please do carry a digital copy of your confirmation voucher